Spirits were high on a Wednesday afternoon in the offices at St. John’s Institute as staff did some last-minute rehearsals of Ukrainian folk songs to be performed at Norwood Elementary School. As a contribution to the development of the teaching career of SJI Resident, Khrystyna Marenych, the Institute was glad to bring the gift of music to this inner city school. Marenych, who is completing her teaching practicum at the school, is a regular volunteerfor many of SJI’s community and cultural events. She wanted to bring a taste of her Ukrainian heritage and culture to the “Taste of Norwood Event, celebrating the school’s multicultural nature. Despite the overwhelming pressure to entertain the young children, the staff donned their Ukrainian garb and moved to the school to set up.
The trio was warmly introduced by one of SJI’s residents to the audience of 250 pint-sized students and their staff. SJI’s Faith Programming Coordinator and Administrative Assistant, Christina Kowalenko played a solo version of “Oj Vydno Selo” on the bandura before joining Nadija Szram and Executive Director, Suzanna Brytan for two a cappella songs. The students joined in the songs, and finished the afternoon with arms linked together, humming “De Zhoda v Rodyni”.
The St John’s Institute kitchen was also pleased to provide pyrohy with all the fixings for the multicultural potluck that the students enjoyed after the performance.